The Deal Mommy

When The News Intrudes

Greetings from New York City! I’m here for some much needed one on one time with Deal Kid. We’ve both been looking forward to this trip for a month and I thought I had everything planned…the cartooning class at The New Yorker, the FAO visit, Times Square, Dylan’s Candy Bar…

However, upon arriving last night it became clear a contingency has entered the plan: street protests following grand jury decisions. So far they seem both peaceful and somewhat contained, but streets are being blocked off and Times Square may be out of the question.

It’s certainly not the first time I’ve stumbled upon the news, but it is the first time that Deal Kid is aware of something happening out of the norm. Even for New York City the police presence was, um, notable last night. And we didn’t have the door shut on our cab from the bus drop off to the hotel without getting an earful from our cab driver!

So here’s my dilemma: how much news is the right amount for an 11 year old? I mean, he’s almost a teenager but still holds out a shred of hope on Santa Claus! How have you dealt with current events showing up in your travels? Please share in the comments.

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12 thoughts on “When The News Intrudes

  1. Mommy Points

    Hope you guys have a great time in NYC! For this particular issue, the exact details of the events that sparked the protests may not be overly necessary, but I don’t think it is every too early to discuss issues related to race, which is really the root of the protests anyway. I bet he can more than handle those sort of discussions, and it may make the trip even more valuable in a different way than you ever expected. Good luck!

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Thanks. Unfortunately I don’t think the cabbies here will let me get away from the actual issue. Last night we got a vivid description of an aggressive police takedown of a drug dealer 0ur driver witnessed on 6th ave last year!

      Race animosity is a new one for him, too, as he attends a school that has over 40 languages spoken. He knows the history, of course, but thinks of it as “history”, not current events.

      1. Mommy Points

        Well, if you are certain he will be exposed the nitty gritty anyway, then better to get the full lowdown from you than a grumpy cabbie.

        Sad that it is still not just history yet, but a sad and important lesson to learn. Found myself having detailed conversations I didn’t expect to have after lots of questions from recent 9/11 museum visit. Waaaaay beyond the 30,000 foot view I expected and she did way better than I would have guessed. GL!

  2. harvson3

    Have you told Deal Kid yet about how the world he’ll inherit as an adult has been and will be damaged severely by modern travel and a consumerist lifestyle? Those are harder to see, obviously, but relative to police brutality against people of color, they’re issues in which we as parents and consumers play a more direct role.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Thanks for your take. We struggle with the balance between “have” and “do”, which I think plays a big role. I try to skew more towards “do”, but it is definitely a challenge.

  3. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

    We were in New York City last week, and we were so busy sightseeing that I didn’t realize that a decision on the Ferguson case had been made. When I looked back at my photos of Times Square at night, I saw the headline on the news ticker right above people dressed up like Elmo and Mickey Mouse. Luckily, we got out of there about a half an hour before the protesters showed up.

    I think that travel is a great way to introduce the kids to the realities of the world. It ignites a discussion (age-appropriate, of course) in a natural way that is far more meaningful than what they can read in a textbook. Encountering uncomfortable and unusual situations hopefully gives kids gratitude that it is not the norm for them and also allows you to share your own personal opinions about the issue.

    We’ve traveled overseas a lot and have come across situations that are definitely not the norm in America. My three kids are ages 9-15 years old, so I do try to somewhat control what they are exposed to but some things cannot be avoided. When we were in Cambodia, I had to explain to them that we’d be seeing child beggars and that I wouldn’t be giving them money, as mean as that may seem, because I don’t want to support the practice. Instead, we’d make a donation to an orphanage that focuses on getting kids educated and also social services to keep families intact. However, I totally avoided any mention of the Killing Fields because I don’t think my kids are ready for that type of harsh reality.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in New York, and I wish that I could have attended that cartooning event.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Thanks for your insight. I’ve had to discuss the poverty issue too, both here in the states with the homeless and overseas, esp. Guatemala.

  4. Pawtim

    In my opinion, you could use this as a practical learning opportunity. I think your kid is certainly at the right age to understand that he should never ever point a gun, even if he knows it’s a toy gun, at a police officer. I’d explain to him that a police officer may not know it’s a toy.

    I also think one could teach a child to be respectful and obey a police officer who tells him to do something, and never ever try to grab a police officer’s gun away from him. Police officers and firefighters are grownups in the community who are there to help people. I think those are simple but important lessons that would be age-appropriate.

  5. The Value Traveler

    I think it’s I’m important to tell the young one’s that there’s bad people everywhere, but it’s not a reflection of the world. Traveling all over the world convinces you that most people are good, and that you can’t judge a group of people from the actions of a few….

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